Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paying Attention?

Near the end of Peggy Noonan's most recent column, there comes an important bit of wisdom:

One of Gen. McChrystal's aides, in the Rolling Stone interview, said that if Americans "started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular."

Maybe we should find out.

Here, here.

I know that I don't know enough about what's going on in Afghanistan and Iraq.


A Scorcher Sunday

On Sunday, I went to the 12:45 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. The liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Jonathan Morris.

To set the scene: Sunday afternoon was a scorcher in Gotham. Old Saint Pat’s does not have air conditioning. The church was populated with its normal contingent of Soho / Nolita young adults plus the families of some 10 babies to be baptized after Mass.

“Imagine it is February in Alaska,” Deacon Paul Vitale gently suggested at the beginning of his fine homily on the day’s scripture readings.

The Gospel was from Luke Chapter 9.

The passage, which I posted in its entirety in 2007, is another about what it means to follow Jesus – and how urgently to follow him. Its most well-known verse may be Jesus’ exchange with the person who asks, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”

Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God,” Jesus responds.

For thoughts related to this incredible command, pay a visit to Fran and City Father.

The painting above by Georges Rouault is from here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

While I Look Outside

Last week, The Anchoress posted the tune "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles. I kind of like it, especially the fun beginning.

Here it is for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


On Sunday, I went to the 5:15 p.m. Mass at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Manhattan's West Side.

The fine liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Ron Franco, C.S.P., with music by the St. Paul's Young Adult Choir.

The Gospel reading, from Luke Chapter 9, was about Jesus' identity and what it means to follow him.

In the passage, Jesus gives a prediction:

"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised."

For homilies on Sunday's Gospel, pay a visit to Deacon Greg and A Concord Pastor.

The image above is by Georges Rouault.

John Ross

I was remiss Sunday in wishing all fathers, grandfathers, Godfathers and fathers-in-spirit a blessed Father's Day here on the blog. Mea culpa! I certainly do extend a belated greeting.

Late Sunday night, my youngest brother, Cliff, probably received the best Father's Day gift one can imagine.

At 11:17 p.m., Cliff and his wife, Meghan, became parents for the first time. Their new son's name is John Ross Snatchko. At birth, he weighed seven pounds and was 21 inches long.

Welcome to the world, little John Ross. May the Holy Spirit be always be your guide.

"J.R." is a new cousin for Aiden, who, coincidentally, came into the world on a Mother's Day.

An aside: I understand a certain late 20th century television program may have been a slight inspiration for my youngest nephew's moniker:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

But Why?

I recently discovered a fine blog called Bridges and Tangents. It's the work of Fr. Stephen Wang, an English priest.

In a recent post, he pondered a new fad sweeping France in which children between the ages of about 7 and 13 sit down at tea parties to discuss philosophy and the big questions of life.

Fr. Wang's take:

... I’ve always found that the best ages for deep reflection are about 3 and 10.

At 3, the most basic questions about reality, life and death come up. Then you attempt an answer, and the question comes back at you in a different form. It’s the ‘But why…?’ stage of life.

At 10, the same questions come up, but in a more considered way. There is a new intelligence and maturity, a new curiosity, still with a certain innocence, but without the hormones and herd mentality that seem to close down the possibility of thought during much of adolescence.

The most thoughtful and open discussions I’ve had about philosophy and religion have been with children in Year 5 in the British system – ages 9 to 10. That’s why it’s such a good age for religious catechesis. And why I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to move all the preparation for First Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation to Year 5. (Discuss…)

Good points.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Standing at the Crossroads

I've never been a fan of "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders. Always struck me as rather hokey.

Until now.

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here's a fine new take on that 1994 tune by the PS22 Chorus.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Permanence

Kim Luisi, author of the blog Faith, Fiction and Flannery, is visiting Maryhouse, a Catholic Worker community on NYC's Lower East Side.

So far, she has done three fine posts on her time there.

Here's a bit of Tuesday's report:

... Washing dishes for a large group of people can allow some time for reflection and meditation. As I cleaned, the beauty of the moment became clear. These women who are often considered throw-aways are treated to a dignity that they themselves may not realize they need. They are fed not with paper plates and plastic cutlery, in other words throw-away stuff, but instead with the permanence of real dinnerware. After every meal, the dignity of each diner is compounded when a person volunteers to wash the dishes of the marginalized. ...

I paid my own first visit to Maryhouse a few months ago for one of their regular Friday evening discussions. (It's an easy walk from my pad in Little Italy.) The topic that wintery night was the painter Georges Rouault.

It's a good place.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some Women

I went to Sunday Mass twice this past weekend.

On Saturday, I took my maternal grandmother to the 4 p.m. vigil Mass at our hometown parish, St. Alphonsus Church in McDonald, PA. I also went to the 9 a.m. Sunday liturgy at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Burgettstown, PA, just prior to the Lucy's baptism.

I got quite a bit out of the double dose of scripture readings.

The Gospel, from Luke Chapter 7, was the account of a dinner at the home of a pharisee during which a sinful woman bathed Jesus' feet.

There was a bit of wording in the middle of the passage that struck me. It comes right after the pharisee makes a snide comment about the woman:

Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something I want to say to you."

I can't immediately recall another instance in scripture in which Jesus so directly tells someone they are about to get schooled.

At the 9 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Father Connolly had a good beginning to his homily on this Gospel passage and the day's other scriptures. Paraphrasing: "I always a worry a bit when the Gospel is about a pharisee because for many years I think I was one."

Sunday's Gospel had an optional longer ending from the beginning of Luke Chapter 8 about the people who accompanied Jesus during his public ministry. I was a little disappointed that the celebrants at both Masses I attended chose not to proclaim these words that speak to the presence of women in Jesus' time on earth:

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

For more on Sunday's scriptures, pay a visit to A Concord Pastor, Deacon Greg and Fran.

Flashback: 2007

The image above of Mary Magdalene is by James Tissot. It is from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I ♥ Lucy

I'm writing today from the kitchen table of my mother's house outside of McDonald, PA. I'm in the homeland until Tuesday morning.

Yesterday afternoon, I met Brayden for the first time.

Last night, I attended the annual banquet of the Washington - Greene County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. My uncle, Roger Snatchko, was among this year's inductees for his success as a softball player.

On the schedule for tomorrow is the baptism of Lucy at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Burgettstown, PA. (I am blessed to be serving as Godfather.)

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here is a bit of music in honor of little Lucy.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010

Natural Instincts

Food for thought:

“It is impossible, humanly speaking, that a religion can maintain itself among a people when once they are led to believe it wrongs their natural instincts, is hostile to their national development, or is unsympathetic with their genius.”

-- Isaac Hecker, from "The Church and the Age" (1887), as quoted recently here by City Father.

Fr. Hecker was the founder of the Paulist Fathers.

Twelve Wicker Baskets

On Saturday, I went to the 5 p.m. closing liturgy of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress. The vigil Mass for the "Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ" (or "Corpus Christi") was celebrated by Archbishop Wilton Gregory.

The hall at the Georgia International Convention Center was packed. But, thanks to my friend Sherial, we snagged seats with the good folks from St. Paul of the Cross Church.

The Gospel proclaimed was the account from Luke Chapter 9 of the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.

At the end of the passage, after hearing that the great multitude had been fed, we learn this final detail:

And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.

I wonder what happened to these miraculous leftovers. Perhaps including this detail was St. Luke's way of indicating there were still more to be fed.

For reflections on yesterday's solemnity, visit Fran (here and here), Deacon Greg and A Concord Pastor.

Flashbacks: Corpus Christi Sundays 2009, 2008 and 2007.

The images above by Ann Bridges are from here.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

An Old Sweet Song

I've been outside of Atlanta this weekend to exhibit for my gig at the Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress. It was my third time at this large annual event.

It's been a nice visit -- lots of friendly folks here.

So, for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here is "Georgia On My Mind."


Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Animal Will Throw Us

Food for thought:

... We must know the truth about ourselves without equivocation; we must be brought to the point of absolute honesty before ourselves and before others. Again and again we will be tempted to stand on the pedestal of our own self-esteem, and this temptation must be overcome at all costs.

We may cavort for a time on our high horse of vanity and self-deception, but sooner or later the animal will throw us and make off leaving us stranded in the wilderness.

We must abandon the fictions we have labored to polish so as to increase their plausibility. An honest self-appraisal combined with a sober summing-up of one’s own capacities and potentialities is the first step toward truth in life. The truth shall set you free – and freedom, in every part of life, is all that matters.

-- Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J., from "Prison Writings" (Orbis).

(The paragraph breaks are mine.)

Father Delp was was executed on February 2, 1945, for being part of the German resistance to the Nazis. I greatly appreciate his words above -- despite being far from living up to them.

Photo hat-tip: Tim. His description: "On Pentecost Sunday, at the Pantheon in Rome, red rose petals fall from the roof to symbolize the descent of the Holy Spirit."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"You Cannot Bear It Now"

On Sunday, I went to 12:45 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of Old Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Nolita.

The liturgy for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity was celebrated by Fr. Jonathan Morris.

Two pieces of scripture stood out to me. The first was a verse from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans Chapter 5:

" ... affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint ... "

It's an inverse of Yoda's saying "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." (Nerd Alert!)

Some verbiage from the Gospel also registered. A quote from Jesus in John Chapter 16:

"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."

"You cannot bear it now." In my opinion, that's Jesus recognizing our human nature. God knows there are times when we have trouble dealing with things. And, sometimes, perhaps God lets a period of time pass until we are able to accept, change and/or grow.

For more reflections on Sunday's solemnity, visit Deacon Greg, A Concord Pastor, Mike and Fran (here and here).

Flashbacks: Trinity Sundays 2009, 2008 and 2007.

The painting above, from here, is attributed to Emil Nolde.